Making connections for the future

Published: 19 Jun 2017

Based in Shanghai, Steve Lien is head of Honeywell Aerospace’s operations in Asia-Pacific, where its software and hardware solutions are finding applications everywhere from airlines to owner-enthusiasts.

Have you always been interested in aviation?

I got a job at a small consulting firm in Washington DC after college, where I worked closely with many aviation and defence clients. Due to this exposure, my interest for aviation grew deeper and I’ve now been a part of the industry for over 20 years.

Tell us about your career to date.

I’ve been with Honeywell Aerospace for 14 years, and have held various roles in business leadership, business development and strategic planning. Before my appointment as the president for Asia-Pacific in February last year, I was also vice-president for China and Asia-Pacific growth, vice-president of defence and space international, and vicepresident of navigation subsystems, sensors and space products. Prior to working at Honeywell, I spent some time at Pratt & Whitney and also worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company and Kaiser Associates.

What does your current role entail?

As president of Honeywell Aerospace in Asia-Pacific I oversee operations in six countries within the region. I also manage extensive field operations across a network of 14 countries.

What are Honeywell’s plans for the Asia-Pacific region?

According to IATA, passenger growth is expected to more than double over the next two decades, with the Asia-Pacific region being the biggest driver of demand. Hence, Honeywell is optimistic for the growth opportunities in the region, and is committed to investing in these markets. From the cockpit to the cabin, Honeywell provides and is working on a unique suite of connected aircraft solutions for Asia-Pacific airlines, business jets, militaries, helicopters and enthusiast owners that span satellite components and equipment to software and services. The past year has been monumental for Honeywell’s JetWave connectivity hardware, which connects to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Kaband network to provide a reliable, consistent wi-fi experience over land and sea. The system has been selected by leading global airlines, as well as for business jets. We are currently certifcating the system for aftermarket upgrades on over 30 models, with 500 deliveries to date and nearly 1,000 coming up. In addition, Honeywell’s GoDirect software services platform is an all-inclusive portfolio of aerospace services, including flight planning, software updates and maintenance. Honeywell’s GoDirect Fuel Efficiency, for example, is able to help airlines reduce fuel use and costs using data analysis, reporting and monitoring tools. This app-based approach will enable operators and pilots to have real-time data at their fingertips, increasing efficiency and productivity.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

We have fantastic customers across the region and I enjoy meeting them, be it airlines, OEMs or our partners. There is a lot of vibrancy, hope and opportunities when working with the internal and external teams. The team members also bring their own set of expertise, knowledge and lessons learned.

The least?

Being based in Shanghai, it can be difficult to work with companies that are headquartered in the USA. The major challenge is to co-ordinate meetings across different time zones which typically take place early in the morning or late at night. However, the people in the USA are respectful, and together we manage to sort out timing that fulfils everyone’s needs.

What are your ambitions?

I have spent over 20 years in an industry that I love, and my work has allowed me to be involved with diverse aviation business portfolios like Honeywell’s. I really enjoy the people I collaborate with and my current role, working closely with the AsiaPacific region. I look forward to the promising future that this market holds for my role and expertise, and encourage others to also pursue jobs they love around the world.

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